Toronto Maple Leafs Should Make Johnsson and Kapanen Untouchable

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: Kasperi Kapanen
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: Kasperi Kapanen /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are probably going to trade one of Andreas Johnsson or Kasperi Kapanen.

At least that is what everyone says.  And for the Toronto Maple Leafs it probably does make sense.

Faced with the chance to contend for a Stanley Cup, they  might have no choice but to go for a big move.

Any move they make is going to have to require sacrificing roster players because they are currently spent all the way to the maximum allowed under the NHL’s salary cap.

And the money they could use to get new talent could be subtracted from the roster in the form of Kapanen or Johnsson’s money. (All info from

Toronto Maple Leafs Johnsson and Kapanen

The Leafs current top four wingers are Mitch Marner and William Nylander on the right, and Zach Hyman and Alexander Kerfoot on the left.

If you ask me, that is about as perfect of a top four as it’s possible to get.  You’ve got 2 elite scorers, a great puck possession grinder, and a defensive monster.  I think the Leafs top six is the best in hockey bar none.

So where does that leave Kapanen and Johnsson?

Hopefully still on the team.

Mikheyev is a mystery due to the nature of his injury, and Spezza probably shouldn’t be playing on a third line at 5v5.  I like Trevor Moore, but I’m not real comfortable calling him a good third liner right now.

But you know who I do like?  Johnsson and Kapanen.  Both of them are signed to cheap deals.  Johnsson for another three years, and Kap for another two. Both under four million.

Why waste that?

People forget that Johnsson scored at a first line rate last year while playing tough competition with Matthews.  He scored 20 goals and has just one full NHL season to his credit.  He is also one of the only dirty, grindery, gritty players the Leafs have.

Kapanen also has a 20 goal season, has also shown he can play on a top line, and  he is just 23 years old.  Oh, and he has wheels on par with Connor McDavid and Mathew Barzal.

With these two guys sandwiched between Pierre Engvall the last couple of games, I’ve found a new line to absolutely love.  I see no reason why a Johnsson-Engvall-Kapanen can’t be one of the best third lines in the NHL.

I see why trading either of these guys makes sense, and I predict that the odds of it happening are decent – afterall, you’ve got to give to get.

But the things is, I don’t see what the Toronto Maple Leafs even need.  They’ve got three great lines, and about a 100 good options for the fourth line.

People want to add on the blue-line, but that only makes sense if they add a top pairing superstar.  No mid-range player (Demelo or Dillon) is going to make it worth parting with the needed assets just to be slightly better than Hall or Dermott.

I know most people won’t agree, but I don’t think the Toronto Maple Leafs really need to add anything at all to their team.  I would be extremely cautious about moving Kapanen and Johnsson, or even one of them.

Next. 4 Reasons the Leafs Will Never Trade..... dark

Cheap, talented players, locked up through most of their prime years are not easy contracts to pull off.

Maybe the Leafs should be standing pat.